Northwest got back to its winning ways on Thursday night at Mississippi Delta, holding the Trojans to 132 yards of total offense and forcing a season-high five turnovers in a 37-0 shutout victory, the Rangers' first since Sept. 17, 2009.
Northwest snapped a two-game losing streak in improving to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in north division play, while host Delta dropped to 0-7 overall and 0-4 in the north. The win for Northwest also marked its sixth consecutive over the Trojans and 12th in the last 14 tries.
After a sluggish start with two interceptions and a punt on its first three drives, Northwest found its rhythm on their final drive of the first quarter and used that momentum to go into the half with four consecutive scoring drives and a 24-0 cushion.
A 12-play, 83-yard drive put Northwest on the scoreboard with 36 seconds left in the first, with Ryan Mossakowski completing 6-of-6 passes on the drive, capped by a 3-yard touchdown strike to Lance Ray.
Northwest increased its lead to 14-0 with 12:33 left in the second, using a short field after the defense forced a three-and-out and going 47 yards on three plays. Backup quarterback Domonique Harris tossed his first touchdown pass of the season, throwing deep to Ray on a 41-yard connection.
Harris came back out the ensuing Ranger drive and again had success, rushing for 28 yards and completing 4-of-5 passes on a 10-play, 78-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Teshadi Talton. Another lengthy drive for Northwest resulted in a 21-yard Chase Carpenter field goal, giving the Rangers a 24-0 lead at the half.
Despite a slow start, Northwest dominated Delta in the opening 30 minutes, outgaining the Trojans 320-31 and limiting them to just two first downs.
La'Darrick Anderson's second interception of the season on Delta's opening drive of the second half led to another Ranger touchdown, with Mossakowski hooking up with Ray from 22-yards out on the first play after the turnover to give Northwest a 30-0 lead.
Again the Ranger defense came up with a turnover two drives later, as Theodore Jackson stripped Justin Leavy deep in Ranger territory and Dex Herrington recovered the fumble at the Northwest 2-yard line to keep the shutout intact.
Northwest turned that into another touchdown to take a 37-0 lead, putting together its best drive of the season. Al Hentz carried the ball five times on the drive, including a 28-yard touchdown run for his first score of the year, while Mossakowski was again perfect through the air going 5-for-5 for 76 yards.
Interceptions by David Conner and Bakari Trotter in the fourth helped seal the victory for Northwest.
The Rangers ended the night outgaining the Trojans 482-132, including 220-18 on the ground, and picked up 26 first downs to Delta's seven. Northwest was also 9-of-13 on third down conversions, while limiting Delta to 2-of-13.
Hentz and Talton each found the end zone on the ground, rushing for 82 and 72 yards, while Mossakowski finished 14-of-20 for 148 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions and Harris was 9-of-13 for 114 yards and a touchdown. In addition to Ray's three touchdown receptions on four catches for 78 yards, Ricky Hunt had a season-high seven catches for 42 yards.
Defensively, Northwest racked up 11 tackles-for-loss on the night, led by Randolph Williams and Jackson. Conner had a team-high nine tackles to go along with an interception, while both Jackson and Demarius Pegues racked up seven tackles.
Northwest (4-3, 2-2) welcomes Holmes (2-5, 2-2) to campus next Saturday, Oct. 22, for Homecoming.